I’ve been cooking a lot of dals lately, and I’m sharing one of my recipes today. Dal is an Indian dish made by simmering beans or peas (usually without their skins and split in half) in water then seasoned with various spices. Dals are a great addition to any meal, they are usually high in fibre, iron, protein, and contain a plethora of B vitamins, which can help you feel more energized.
|Mixed Dal with Vegetables
Interestingly, dal refers to both the dish, and the bean/ pea that the dish is made from. The most common beans/ peas used for dals include the mung dal, toor dal, urad dal, channa dal, yellow split peas, or red/ yellow lentils. I used an equal amount of mung and urad dals for this recipe. Feel free to experiment!
|Wash mung dal and urad dal, soak in water for 1 hour, then drain
|Sauté ginger over medium heat with oil for 1 minute, then add turmeric
|Add in drained mung dal and urad dal, sauté for 1 minute
Add water, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes
In addition to the dal, this dish also calls for sautéed vegetables. First heat up some oil and wait until it’s medium- hot, then add mustard seeds and immediately put a lid on the pan to prevent them from jumping out. As soon as they’ve quieted down, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, and the minced chilies and sauté for half a minute. Then add the cut up vegetables. The process of adding spices to hot oil is commonly used in Indian cuisine to build up the flavour of the dish. It toasts the spices to release their flavour into the oil, the sequence is also carefully timed so all the spices finishes cooking at the same time without any burning.
|Toast spices in oil (see above), then add cubed eggplant and carrot
Sauté vegetables for 5 minutes
|Pour dal into the vegetable mixture and simmer for 10 minutes.
Season with salt and garam masala.
|Mixed dal with vegetables, best served hot with rice
Mixed dal with vegetables
- 1/2 cup dried mung dal
- 1/2 cup dried urad dal
- 5 tbsp oil, divided
- 2 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 L water (approx), divided
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 green chilies, seeded and minced
- 1 eggplant, cubed
- 2 carrots, 1/2 inch segments
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- Salt to taste
- Wash and soak the mung and urad dals for 1 hour, drain.
- In a deep pot, heat 2 tbsp of oil, when hot, add ginger and sauté for 1 minute, add turmeric and sauté for 15 seconds.
- Add the drained dals and sauté for 2 minutes to toast gently, then add 800 mL of water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
- In a separate large pan, heat up 3 tbsp of oil, when hot, add mustard seeds and immediately put a lid on the pan to prevent the seeds from popping out. When the seeds have finished popping, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, and green chilies. Cook for 30 more seconds.
- Add eggplant and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Pour the cooked dal into the vegetable pan along with 200 mL of water and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to blend.
- Season with garam masala and salt before serving with rice.
Today I went on an Indian cooking spree. For dinner, I made rajma and saag. This post is about rajma, which is an Indian red kidney bean stew (For saag, see the next post). I really like this recipe since it is super healthy, high in fibre and a source of iron. That’s not bad for these little beans! Feel free to enjoy it with some rice or whole wheat chapattis.
|Rajma: kidney beans cooked with onion and spices
This recipe starts out the night before with soaking the kidney beans overnight in the fridge. The water to bean ratio should be 3:1. If you’re preparing this for dinner, soaking can be done in the morning and simply left out in room temperature.
Once the beans have been soaked, boil them in unsalted water for about 1 hour until they are soft. Drain and reserve.
In the meanwhile, dice two tomatoes, one onion, mince three cloves of garlic, half an inch of ginger, and one green chili.
|Top: diced tomatoes, bottom left to right: minced green chilies, ginger, garlic, and diced onion
In a pan, heat oil and add ginger, garlic and chilies and fry for 1-2 minutes, watch the garlic closely so it doesn’t burn. Then, add the onion and tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes. Add a pinch of turmeric at this point. The turmeric will turn everything a lovely shade of yellow and impart its characteristic aromatic fragrance. Add the boiled red kidney beans, cayenne pepper, coriander powder.
At this point, the recipe told me to “simmer until a thick gravy is formed” but the mixture was pretty dry to begin with, so I added some of the liquid that the beans were cooked in for the gravy.
After about 20 minutes, the flavours from the tomatoes, chilies, spices will have infused the kidney beans. Add a pinch of garam marsala. Taste them at this point and add salt to taste. Garnish with some minced fresh coriander leaves and ring the dinner bell.
|Rajma for dinner anyone?
Taste test: 3.5/5
Slightly spicy from the green chilies and cayenne, this left a pleasant heat in my mouth. I don’t think I cooked the kidney beans for long enough, they were a little too chewy for my liking. Otherwise a lively and brightly coloured dish. This would make a lovely filling for an Indian-style burrito, and I’ve also read about using it as a pizza topping, or simply eaten with plain rice.
1 cup dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight
1 tbsp vegetable oil/ butter/ ghee
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 green chili, minced
1 small onion, fine dice
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 pinch ground turmeric, about 1/4 tsp
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp ground coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam marsala
salt to taste
2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), minced
- Boil red kidney beans until they are soft, about 1 hour, drain and reserve the cooking liquid
- Heat vegetable oil/ butter/ ghee in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add minced garlic, ginger, and chilies and cook for 1 minute
- Add the onion and tomatoes, cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent and tomatoes are softened
- Add turmeric, cayenne pepper, ground coriander, and cooked kidney beans
- Add enough of the cooking liquid from the kidney beans to form a sauce, about 1 cup; simmer until the sauce is thickened and coats the beans
- Sprinkle with garam marsala, do a taste test, salt accordingly
- Garnish with minced coriander and serve